Manufacturing executives’ concerns include strong dollar, innovation policies

A newspaper's questionnaire of Australian CEOs has found that manufacturing leaders’ concerns include issues such as innovation, the Australian dollar and the industry’s place in the economy.

The Australian Financial Review published responses from chief execs in today’s edition regarding the upcoming election, with manufacturing represented by those including of Brian McNamee (CSL), Julian Segal (Caltex), Terry Davis (Coca Cola Amatil), John Pollaers (Pacific Brands) and Mike Kane (Boral).

“The question is more of leadership and I mean real leadership and whereby leaders lead and don’t take their cues from a colleague,” offered Segal, who added that the trend of leading by polling concerns rather than out of a vision was evident worldwide.

Terry Davis told the AFR that a level playing field was being sought by manufacturers, and the exchange rate was a continuing problem.

"The high Australian dollar is certainly causing issues, in the food business more than the beverage business,” he said.

“You’d argue you can import more product but I’m a passionate believer that if people like us don’t take a stand on manufacturing in Australia, then what hope have you got?”

McNamee expressed concern over the state of research in Australia.

“I have been very unhappy over the past 10 years with the changes to university policy and innovation policy,” he offered.

“That is something that will not serve the country well for the future.”